With the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and the Express Rail Link, the Greater Bay Area (GBA) initiative is now very much a reality for Hong Kong businesses. The faster connectivity these new links provide – in addition to the broader infrastructure development across the GBA – will facilitate the flow of people, goods and capital in the region, and also create a much bigger consumer market.
And it is becoming clear that the business community in Hong Kong and across the GBA is not just aware of these emerging opportunities, but is already taking action.
In the Chamber's second survey on the GBA conducted with KPMG and HSBC, a resounding majority of respondents – 70% – said that they expect the GBA to have a positive effect on their businesses in the next few years. And they are already taking action, with 57% of respondents saying that they have a strategic plan for the GBA in place, or are in the process of drawing one up.
While this enthusiasm is encouraging, some members have told us that they would like more information about the GBA before they invest or expand their operations in the region. This is an area where the Chamber can help.
Since 2015, our China Committee has arranged visits to all of the cities in the GBA (some more than once), letting members see for themselves the changes on the ground. We have had great feedback from participants on these popular missions. The rapid transformation of formerly industrial areas, the creation of pleasant urban centres and the rapidly emerging high-tech industries are just some of the elements that have impressed our members.
We will continue the programme this month with a visit to Zhuhai. Not only will members get the chance to meet officials and businesspeople in the city, but they will also get to travel via the new bridge and experience first-hand the much shorter travelling time.
We have also been busy organizing events at the Chamber to keep members informed on the latest GBA developments. Recent roundtables and seminars have included topics like the changes to income tax laws and the opportunities emerging in the leisure and culture sector, for example.
The opening up of Mainland China four decades ago has provided huge opportunities for Hong Kong companies. With the development of the GBA, we can further leverage our strengths to do business across southern China. HKGCC is here to help our members make the most of the many opportunities that are emerging.